FM WU18 CANvsMEX (14)

Hosts Mexico and Peru and will play each other for the 13th place of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship on Wednesday, the final day of the tournament in Durango.

Knocked out of contention for medals in the Round of 16, both teams won their matches at the Auditorio del Pueblo on Tuesday and will play for the higher position. The hosts took Canada down in straight sets while the Peruvians defeated Puerto Rico 3-1. NORCECA rivals Canada and Puerto Rico will play for the 15th place earlier on Wednesday.

Mexico defeated Canada for a second time in the tournament as the hosts contained the fellow North Americans and walked away with a three-set victory. Mexico’s offensive power, which led the team to a 40-31 lead in kills, and their efficiency from the service line (11-5 aces) were the keys for their win although the Canadians won the battle at net with six blocks to one.

Mexican outside hitter Aime Topete was the match’s top scorer with 15 points (14 kills, one ace). She got good support from opposite Leah Linares, who scored nine, and outside hitter Carla Esquer and middle blockers Sara Cantu and Maria Ximena Solar, who delivered eight each. Canada’s leading scorers were outside hitters Olivia Boulding and opposite Lauryn Hovey with nine points apiece.

“It was our second match against Canada and we played well in both of them,” Topete explained. “They put us under pressure during the second set but we still managed to win. We’ve prepared well for every match and even though sometimes things didn’t go the way we hoped for, we had good experiences in each of them. We have a final match against Peru tomorrow and I believe we’ll have a good result because I trust my team.”

Peru won for the second time in a tournament in a four-setter against Puerto Rico in which two sets went to overtime. The South Americans benefited from their more potent offense to outscore the Caribbean in that area 65-56, but were also more effective at the net (9-5 blocks) and from the service line (9-3 aces).

Captain Alondra Alarcon was once again unstoppable as the Peruvian outside hitter left the court with 27 points (24 kills, one block, two aces). Opposite Saskya Silvano (16), outside hitter Maria Cisneros (12) and middle blocker Maria Fernanda Denegri (10) also produced in double digits for the winners while Puerto Rico relied mostly on outside hitter Chareika Carrion, with 19 points (17 kills, one block, one ace), and opposite Ana Beatriz Fuertes, who tallied 13.

Denegri (left) and Alarcon combined for 37 points in the match

Denegri (left) and Alarcon combined for 37 points in the match

“After so many matches, I feel like we’re more united than ever,” Denegri reflected. “And we have better chemistry on our offense and our blocking too. We knew this was one of our last opportunities to show our game here and wanted to do really well. We did a very good job at the end of sets as we felt we had nothing to lose. Tomorrow we play our last match and even though we wanted to be competing for a spot in the podium, we’ll fight for the 13th place and also to end the tournament on a high.”